How did Germany’s SAP successfully orchestrate change from a one-product software vendor to a fast-growing cloud business? flow’s Janet Du Chenne talks to Stefan Gruber about the company’s transformation and how investor relations adapted
When Stefan Gruber joined Lufthansa as a management trainee in the early 1990s, a secure career at the state-owned airline seemed inevitable.
However, his path was drastically altered when, in 1994, the German government announced that it would privatise the airline, taking its 51.4% stake to a minority position. With this statement it became obvious what Lufthansa needed to do next: set up an investor relations (IR) department to manage communication with its new majority owners.
As part of this new team, Gruber suddenly found himself thrust into a whole new world where he was dealing with external stakeholders and financial analysts, preparing reports and setting up analyst conferences. However, since he was also studying economics in parallel, he relished the opportunity to work with this group. “I always had a desire to learn how corporations work and how they are valued externally,” Gruber reflects. “The IR function is the place to be, because you get a good perspective of the corporation and constant feedback from the financial community on how you’re performing.”
A few years later, after his enthusiasm and hard work in helping to set up the Lufthansa IR team had been noted within Germany’s fledgling IR community, he received an offer from software company SAP to join as its second IR officer. Given his natural curiosity and thirst for change, it was an offer he readily accepted.
flow magazine is published twice per year and can be read online and delivered to your door in print
Find out more about products and services